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North Western Province, Sri Lanka

Kalpitiya Kitesurfing

Kite travellers from around the globe come to Kalpitiya Lagoon, long regarded as the top spot in Sri Lanka for kitesurfing. Epic kitesurfing freestyle competitions are regularly held at Kalpitiya, but there's something here for everyone. Beginners love the flat, shallow water at Kalpitiya Lagoon which shelters from strong waves, and pros love the reliable winds here at a near-constant stream of 25+ knots! There's also a great social atmosphere at the beach, with lots of opportunities to meet new friends and exchange kiting tips!

There are a couple ways to do it. The fastest route is probably to hire a car and driver in Colombo and drive up. The journey is about 4 hours. Depending on how many people you have in your group, a one-way transfer from Colombo airport to Kalpitiya will cost between EUR 65-80.

If you prefer public transport, you could also take the commuter train going from Colombo to Puttalam, and get off at Palavi Junction (train tickets run from LKR 110-400, depending on the class). From Palavi Junction, you can hire a tuk tuk (usually a few are always waiting at the station) to take you all the way to the place you are staying in Kalpitiya (price is LKR 8000-10,000). The commuter train will take approximately 4h 20m, and the tuk tuk will take approximately 30-45 minutes.

If you are learning kitesurfing for the first time, or wanting to upskill, you will want to go with an instructor who can show you the ropes.

If you are already a pro, you can hit the waves on your own. Instructors are also there for kiters that may feel a little rusty and need a refresher.

In order to kitesurf, you should be in moderately good shape (i.e. able to walk for a few hours at a time) and be a good swimmer. Although the waters in the lagoon are not deep, you should be comfortable in the water as you will be trying lots of new and slightly uncomfortable things.

There are two windy seasons for kitesurfing in Kalpitiya: the summer months of May to October, and the winter months of mid-December to end-February. Though the winds blow strongly all-year long, the other months may not be as reliable.

Summer: The best season for kiting runs from May to October where the south-west winds are usually blowing around an average 20 knots.

Winter: You can catch the winter season from mid-December to end of February, with winds also in the 20-knot average but with a Northeast direction.

During both seasons, the wind tends to be lighter in the morning and grows stronger in the afternoon.

You only need a day to get a taste of kitesurfing, but if you would like to truly experience and start acquiring the skills, we would recommend at least a 3 day stay.

You will want to choose the option based on your kitesurfing level, and whether or not you would like accommodation to be included. 

If you're a beginner kitesurfer, you can pick any of the options other than the Advanced skills lesson. If you're already IKO certified Level 3 in kitesurfing, you can go for the Advanced skills lesson. If you need any lesson that's not listed here, please do let us know and we'll do our best to arrange it.

Sunscreen (zinc sunscreen is best for long water exposure!)
Light clothing to wear in the water (e.g. cotton t-shirt, sports shorts)

There are lots of activities to do here! In addition to kitesurfing, you can also go dolphin watching, snorkelling, and take yoga classes. Most of these activities can be arranged by the kite shop you are staying with.

You might be wondering about the references to the IKO certification that you'll achieve after the kitesurfing lessons. IKO is the world’s leading kiteboarding organization specializing in kiteboard education, promoting safe practices and enhancing the highest standards for the industry. Here's a summary of the skills you'll achieve in each level of certification:

Level 1
Intro to the wind and power with trainer kite
Guided set up and preparation of the kite
Safety system explanation and simulation
Kite flying exercises
Safety system and restarting
Launching and landing
Walking with the kite on the beach

Level 2
Independent setup of the equipment
Body drag downwind
Power stroke exercises
Upwind bodydrag
Board recovery in deep water
Self rescue and pack down

Level 3
Waterstart simulation
Steady pull
Waterstart and riding
Controlled stop
Right of way rules
Upwind riding

All adventures in North Western Province